Update on Mayday DC relief effort in New Orleans

Chuck Munson
Infoshop News

September 12 -- Imagine a situation where the military, FEMA, and the Red Cross are sending people needing help over to a tent set up by anarchists and you start to get a picture of what is happening in New Orleans, at least on the Algiers side of the river. Volunteers with Mayday DC ( http://maydaydc.mahost.org/) set up a wellness center in front of the Masjib Bilal Mosque on Friday and since then have treated hundreds of people for ailments ranging from high blood pressure to dog bites. The latter is caused by the growing number of feral packs of dogs left behind by the evacuation.

Over a thousand people are left in the Algiers neighborhood--they've have been doing what they can to survive and rebuild. FEMA and the military have a presence in the neighborhood, but they aren't exactly doing much. President Bush spent the night on an amphibious assault carrier in clear view of the people doing work out of the mosque, but they don't report signs of any presidential photo-ops in their neighborhood.

The wellness tent, dubbed the “Mayday Mutual Aid Medical Station,” has helped around 55-60 people a day during the weekend and around 100 today. The station has been busy mostly in the morning and early afternoon. The station shuts down in the evening when the curfew takes place.

The Mayday DC relief effort at the Masjib Bilal Mosque has grown to six people, thanks to the arrival today of the Cafe Manowaj truck from Washington, DC and another vehicle full of supplies from Asheville, North Carolina. Jamie "Bork" Loughner--an organizer with Mayday DC--reports that the military came by with three truckloads filled with supplies.

I asked Bork how people could help and what kind of volunteers are needed. She said that they need more medical people. The neighborhood needs volunteers with construction skills to help with the clean-up and new construction. One thing they don't need are tourists, especially people who drop off clothes, pose for photos showing how good they are, and then run back home. Bork stressed that they are getting too many clothes and not enough of other important supplies. The Mayday crew also asked that people NOT donate to the Red Cross, as that organization is corrupt and has been impeding relief efforts. Volunteers are also needed to rescue animals.

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For more breaking news on the situation in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, please visit Infoshop News ( http://news.infoshop.org) or New Orleans Indymedia ( http://neworleans.indymedia.org/).

Information about donating money and resources to various alternative relief groups can be found at:  http://www.infoshop.org/hurricanekatrina.html

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